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Utah News

To Improve Air Quality, Idaho Buys Utah A Bus

Chris Wernert of the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality boards the new bus his agency provided to the Cache Valley Transit District. The DEQ hopes the low-emissions bus will help improve air quality across Cache Valley.
Chris Polansky
/
Utah Public Radio
Chris Wernert of the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality boards the new bus his agency provided to the Cache Valley Transit District. The DEQ hopes the low-emissions bus will help improve air quality across Cache Valley.

A partnership between the state of Idaho and Utah’s Cache Valley Transit District is hoping a new bus can help improve air quality across Cache Valley. 

“Obviously," said Chris Wernert, an analyst at the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality, "the air doesn’t care about state boundaries.”

Wernert was in Logan on Tuesday for the debut of a new bus for the Cache Valley Transit District’s Logan-to-Preston route. The Idaho DEQ used a federal EPA grant to purchase the bus.

Todd Beutler, CVTD’s general manager, was excited.

“It’s impressive," Beutler said of the new coach bus. "It’s $430,000, right? This is a significant – they paid 100% of that bus, which is pretty cool. I will say in the long career I’ve had, way too many years, I’ve never had this happen. So this is pretty amazing for us.”

Beutler said the new bus uses clean diesel technology, making its emissions roughly equal to the emissions from an average car. 

After a brief press conference at the Logan Transit Center, Beutler and Wernert boarded their new bus on a live route. Passengers, informed that Wernert was "the guy who bought this bus," thanked him for the new ride.

“It’s cool to see," Wernert said. "When you’re at your desk and your little cubicle, not knowing if you’re just pushing papers around, it’s actually good to see something actually, literally, hitting the road. It’s awesome.”

Wernert and Beutler both said they hope the new bus will inspire more Cache Valley residents to leave behind their cars in favor of public transit. 

“Any time we’re getting someone out of their car," said Beutler, "we’re improving those emissions.”